The Institute has considerable strengths in epidemiology, particularly in the areas of quantitative modelling, genetic analysis, surveillance, vaccinology, antimicrobial resistance, vector ecology and one-health approaches to disease management. Much of our focus is on endemic and 'neglected' diseases, pathogens of veterinary importance, zoonoses, and studying the biology of these pathogens in their natural context, particularly in developing countries.
We take a highly interdisciplinary approach to the study of infectious diseases, recognizing that epidemiology is very much the ecology of infectious diseases, and thereby benefiting greatly from overlap with strengths in spatial and quantitative ecology. Our modelling is developed in close proximity to data, and focused on estimation of parameters relevant to dynamics and control using innovative statistical methodologies. The advent of new sequencing technologies will revolutionize the way we study epidemiology, particularly regarding transmission, which is usually a very 'hidden' process.
Additional research background
Our Institute has led in the application of some of the first whole genome deep sequencing approaches to the study of FMDV, rabies, and bovine tuberculosis. These data can be used to study for the first time the high-resolution transmission pathways of pathogens, and our Institute leads research in how different types of data (spatial, temporal, genetic etc) can be integrated together within formal statistical frameworks. Novel approaches to disease surveillance requires a good understanding of the underlying biology of pathogens as well as a rigorous statistical underpinning and we develop such approaches both in the UK and resource-poor settings in East Africa and S.E. Asia.
We have expertise in the development of novel statistical approaches to the selection of viral vaccines where strain matching is an important consideration (for example in Influenza and FMDV), in vaccine development (filariasis) and in the design of large-scale vaccine programs - particularly rabies. Vector ecology often comprises a critical gap in our understanding of the dynamics of vector-borne diseases and vectors we study include mosquitos, ticks, and tsetse flies. Our close relationship with veterinarians and medics both within the Institute and wider College provides an ideal platform for developing one-health approaches to the control of infectious disease and biodiversity management, most of our work in this area is based in sub-Saharan Africa in close collaboration with our partner Institutes, particularly in Tanzania.
We work closely with other research units within the College, particularly Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, the University of Glasgow-MRC-Centre for Virus Research, and the Polyomics facility, but we have very strong links outwith the University with the Pirbright Institute and the WHO Influenza Centre at NIMR (London).